What Makes A Winner!!


Doctor Jarrod Spencer is a sports psychologist located in Bethlehem Pa. Aside from being a friend, Jarrod is a graduate of Lafayette College and a former athlete. ( football and high school wrestler). He is the celebrated author of “Mind of the Athlete,” where he explores the psychology that impair or enhance the performance of athletes. His findings can also support coaches, parents and almost everyone who needs to compete or support someone who needs to perform on the field of their choice.


Recently in his blog he published a piece entitled ” 10 Reasons Why Winners Win.” In the article he enumerates the characteristic of the classic winner and answers the question of how winners continue to win. Yes, ability has a lot to do with winning and losing, but I have seen plenty of talented athletic team not reach their full potential. Here are his ten reasons for all to consider.

1. Driven by a love of winning not by a fear of losing

Many times I have seen teams strategically and tactically try not to lose. In football, most of you will be familiar with the “prevent defense.” In reality in many cases it just prevents winning in close games. Every sport has its prevent attitude and strategy. This doesn’t mean you are not “smart” strategically” but trying not to lose more often than not prevents you from winning.

2. Remain relentlessly optimistic at all time

Pessimism especially on the field is a killer. It prevents attacking your opponent for fear of losing

3. Focus on solutions when things go bad

Retreating to the sidelines emotionally, or. physically does no one any good. It is said in field hockey in particular that 2-0 is the most dangerous score for the leader. One goal gets you close  to a tie and maybe a win. There are always solutions if not for this game, but the next.

4. Fueled by feelings of excitement more than nervousness

Sports is all about emotions. There is nothing wrong with being nervous unless it is overwhelming and stops you from doing that you have been training to do!!

5. Confidence comes from excessive preparation

Knowing what to expect on the field makes you ready to succeed. Prepare so that actions become proactive rather than excitedly reactive. Practice until you have that muscle memory down, know where your teammates are on the field and have situational awareness.

6. Surround yourself with like minded positive people

This is a team sport, you don’t need downers. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from critical encouragement.

7. Expect to win each time you play

There is no team that can’t be beaten on any given day and today is YOUR day.

8. Slow down the game in your mind and think clearly

That does not mean literally slowing down on the field or decreasing the tempo but use your preparation to break the game into its component parts mentallly

9. As the games gets bigger, your focus gets. more precise

Your good opponents believe they can win as much as you so, you must do the small things great to get better advantge

10. Losing is not a an option….you either win or learn

It’s the sum of all the other points with the admonition to learn from your mistakes and even a loss won’t be a failure.


I would add a last point, never, never, never lose your poise. You will not learn, by losing control on the field. You will want your next effort to be better.

The 10 points are Jarrod’s, the comments after are mine. Dr Spencer’s web site is http://www.mindoftheathlete.com

Published by

William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am currently Chairman of that Board. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 30 year fan of Division one field hockey

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